Legal Question in Personal Injury in Missouri

Settlement Claim Amount

I was involved in an auto accident 4 car pile up in which I was not driving and we were sandwhiched in the middle. The girls car we were in got totalled and the accident was deemed the fault of the person behind us.

The insurance company is only offering me $11,000 on a $8,500 medical claim.

I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield for personal insurance. Will they be entitled to pay me as well?

The driver of the automobile I was in has $1,000 coverage for each passenger in her auto.

What is a fair settlement amount?

Should I get a lawyer if they are only offering me ~2,500 for pain and suffering?

I thought the rule of thumb was 1.5x doctor bills for pain and suffering compensation.

Who all can I collect from, what are the fair amounts, and what is legal?

Asked on 11/03/08, 12:23 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Jeffrey Carey Carey Law Firm, LLC

Re: Settlement Claim Amount

There is no way to be sure if the offer is fair without examining all of your circumstances. There is no rule of thumb with regard to multiples. The unique facts and circumstances of each case must be evaluated in order to determine an anticipated jury verdict and, by extension, reasonable settlement amount.

My firm offers a contingency fee agreement that bases the fee on the amount we recover in excess of any written offer you have received. That program may work well for your circumstances. Consultations are free.

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Answered on 11/11/08, 2:56 pm
James Manning James Manning, PC

Re: Settlement Claim Amount

I would strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney. There are different types of insurance coverage available. The insurance carrier for the car you were in may only be telling you what coverage is available for medical payments and not the liability coverage that is available. This could be a very important distiction because liability coverage may be stacked in Missouri.

Please let me know if you would like to discuss. I could at leat help guide you in the right direction.

- James

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Answered on 11/03/08, 1:03 pm
Anthony Smith LawSmith

Re: Settlement Claim Amount

You should have an attorney look over all the information relative to yrou case before you agree to settle anything. It is impossible to dtermine if the offer your have now is reasonable withoput looking at everything. You also have nto provided enough information to determine who all may be liable to you.

You may be able to have an attorney evaluate your case for no fee. But, even if you pay a small amount, it will probably worth it, to be sure you are getting a fair deal.

Good Luck

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Answered on 11/03/08, 2:37 pm
Robert Curran Curran Law Firm

Re: Settlement Claim Amount

There is no simple, easy answer to this question. What a particular case is worth depends on all the different circumstances including whether the injuries suffered a permanent or whether a full recovery was made, how much lost wages were involved, who the insurance carrier is, what venue (or county) the lawsuit would have to be filed in, how easy it would be to prove negligence, how significant the impact was, how much the medical expenses were, and how much was actually paid to the providers to satisfy their bills in full which is frequently different from how much the initial bill was), and many other different factors including the background, history and likability of each of the plaintiff and defendant.

All that being said, and without knowing anything about the particulars of your injuries, I would say that, assuming negligence and liability are very clear, 1.5 times medical expenses is very much on the low end of the scale.

The medical expenses questions are very complicated, as the law is unclear on a lot of these issues due both to some unclear federal laws and some recent cases interpreting those laws. We would need to look to who paid for that insurance (insured or employer of insured?), whether the plan is covered by ERISA or not, and a variety of other issues including the actual language of the plan.

If there was medical payments coverage on the vehicle in which you are passenger, you should be able to get your bills paid, up to the med pay limits.

Feel free to call me if you like.

Rob Curran

Curran Law Firm

4608-B South Campbell Avenue

Springfield, MO 65810

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Answered on 11/03/08, 3:03 pm

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